FaciliSafety Sanitizer and Disinfectant Guide

September 10, 2020

The EPA defines products used to kill viruses and bacteria on surfaces as antimicrobial pesticides, and sanitizers and disinfectants are two types of antimicrobial pesticides. But what is the difference between sanitizers, disinfectants, and cleaners?

Sanitizers reduce bacteria on a surface by at least 99.9%. Disinfectants do the same, but eliminate a wider range of microorganisms than sanitizers. Lastly, cleaners eliminate dirt, soils and impurities from surfaces. Sanitizers and disinfectants are regulated and certified by the EPA. Cleaners have less rigorous testing to pass and do not require EPA certification.

The time required to kill germs is an important factor when evaluating both sanitizers and disinfectants, and this must be listed on the product label. The range in time can vary greatly, as some chemical formulas kill respective germs in five minutes and others in less than one minute. Other factors influencing the effectiveness of any sanitizer or disinfectant include the type of alcohol used and the presence of bleach. Here are some of the more popular product types and brands, along with their main features and benefits.


80% Ethanol Alcohol Hand Sanitizer
Antimicrobial soap and water are a quick and easy way to effectively protect yourself against a wide range of microbials, including the virus that causes COVID-19. However, an ethanol alcohol solution of at least 60% also works quickly and can be placed in most areas where frequent hand cleaning is necessary. It's important to note that extremely dirty or greasy hands may prevent complete penetration into the skin. Also, swallowing alcohol-based sanitizer can lead to alcohol poisoning.
75% Isopropyl Hand Sanitizer
Isopropyl alcohol is quickly effective against a variety of bacteria, fungi, and viruses, especially in solutions between 60% and 90% alcohol with 10% to 40% purified water. Solutions with 50% concentration or below are not as useful for disinfection, and solutions above 90% require longer contact times for disinfection. A 75% solution is perfect for use on skin because it penetrates the cell wall and permeates the entire cell, killing any microorganisms and quickly evaporating.
Surface Disinfectant with Bleach
The CDC recommends a bleach solution, such as Havaclean, as an effective way to disinfect areas contaminated with the novel coronavirus. An important thing to remember about bleach is that is breaks down after about a year and reduces its potency rather quickly at that point. This breakdown can be hastened if the product is not stored correctly after opening.
MadaCide-1 Cleaner
MadaCide-1 is a combination disinfectant/cleaner/deodorizer that includes no alcohol. It is a general one-step, ready-to-use product that is designed specifically for use in spaces ranging from hospitals to restaurants to athletic facilities. It is effective against bacteria, viruses, and fungi, and kills Influenza A, HIV, Hepatitis A,B & C, TB, MRSA, VRE, and SARS. It is formulated to disinfect hard, nonporous, inanimate, environmental surfaces, equipment and noncritical instruments.

The CDC recommends frequent cleaning and disinfecting of common surfaces. FaciliSafety has the disinfectants you need, as well as stations and holders that make them more convenient and easily accessible. Call 877.222.2013 for a free consultation.

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